Another day, another year

“For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice.” T.S. Eliot

Last year, I shared my slight hatred for New Year's Eve.  This year, I feel the same.

Last year, my New Year's resolutions were...
  1. Buy a van - done
  2. Begin the conversion- done
  3. Finish my Cognitive Psychology module without going insane - done...I think!
In reality, these are what I would call cheating resolutions though.  They aren't things that I wouldn't otherwise have done, they are just my plans for the year.

I could easily pick resolutions for this year like finish the van, finish my degree and leave the UK, but they would be cheating resolutions too.
So I'm choosing something which wouldn't "just happen", something which will be hard every day, something which I believe will make my life better if I can achieve it.

I resolve to find something I am grateful for every single day.  It will be my first thought every morning. 

I want to be so excited at the sight of each new day, to be filled with happiness and gratitude from the moment I wake up.  This is the first step.

What's your favourite Christmas song?

This is mine - I Believe In Father Christmas by Greg Lake.  It is the only Christmas song which I can listen to on repeat without going insane, the only which gives me goosebumps when I hear it for the first time each year.  The perfect mix of heartache, hope and sleigh bells.

Words to live by

These are the words which sing to me.  They push me to do more in good times and calm my sobs in bad times.  

Sometimes I wish I could pay someone to follow me around and say this to me every time I need to hear it.  Because whenever I need reminding of it most, it always seems to slip my mind.  Oh the irony.

Happy Christmas World.  You are beautiful, I just know it.

John Rylands Library

If you ever find yourself in Manchester, make sure to visit the John Rylands Library.  

"A library? Why would I want to visit a library?" you might ask...well just trust me on this one, it is stunning.
From the hundreds of unique carved stone gargoyles to the enormous ancient leather bound books that line the walls, it is simply beautiful.  By far the most incredible building I have visited in a long time.

As I wasn't expecting it to be quite so special, I didn't take my camera along - so apologies for the poor quality phone pics.

I will certainly be revisiting this library on every future trip I make to Manchester for the forseeable future.  

I'm not sure I could be much more in love with a building than I am with this place!

Missing you

How long can you miss someone for before the person you miss disappears?

How many years does it take before the person you miss has changed so much that they are no longer who you miss any more?

How long does it take for the bad moments to be erased from memory, and the good moments to be changed into perfect ones?

For the memories you hold so dear to change and distort until who you are missing is not even the person they once were?


I'm not the kind of girl who looks at a horse and immediately sees a unicorn... but every day I wait for you.  Every day I miss you.  How long does it take before the unicorn is all that is left in view?

On being needed

My friend, the one who used to call me up when all he wanted to do was slit his wrists, the one who held me while I cried my way through my mother's cancer fight, has just had a baby with his fiancee.  I didn't even know she was pregnant.

Another friend, the one who I have travelled thousands of miles with, the one who guided me down the path to finding my faith, has just had major surgery.  I didn't even know she was sick.

Ouch.  How could these people, who mean so much to me, not share their darkest and their brightest moments with me any more?  Do I mean nothing to them any more?
Once my initial reactions of anger subsided, I changed perspective and changed my mind.  These two people didn't tell, not because I mean nothing to them, but because they now have people in their lives who simply mean more.  They both have partners who support them through their highs and their lows, so they don't need to look elsewhere for their fulfillment any more.  They don't need me.  This shouldn't make me angry with them, it should make me happy that the person they have chosen to spend their lives with is sufficient for their needs.  They are happy.
More worrying though, was that because they no longer need me, I instantly assumed they no longer loved me.

Why do I have to feel needed in order to feel loved?  
I tell myself that I want someone who is my equal, who inspires me to do more, who is always one step ahead of me.  
So why is there still some malfunctional ridiculous part of me which has to be depended upon in order to feel loved

Laser eye surgery review

In November I had LASIK laser eye surgery with Optimax in Manchester.  I can absolutely 100% recommend it...already I cannot believe how I managed with how bad my eyesight was before I had it done.

Here are my top 10 tips and advice...

  1. Go to your own optician for advice before you consider going to a clinic.  You then get the peace of mind that you have some advice from an impartial person who you can be sure hasn't been told to try and sell you the procedure.
  2. In my opinion, there isn't much difference between the "Big Three" clinics - Optimax, Utralase and Optical Express.  They all offer free lifetime aftercare, similar procedures with similar equipment.  They also all offer free consultations - go and see them, ask questions, get quotes and make up your own mind!
  3. Optimax Manchester are excellent.  I felt relaxed, valued and didn't feel like I was being sold to.  The aftercare they gave me was great.  The only slight negative of my experience was that no-one really talked me through the procedure to the extent that I expected from previous hospital experiences.  I did receive sufficient information that I felt confident in my surgeon's experience though so this was more an issue based on personal preference than a genuine problem.
  4. If you are getting both eyes done...don't go to the clinic alone.  Yes you probably would be able to see just about well enough to get home on your own, but if you are anything like me you just won't feel like making the effort.  I only had one eye done so thought I would be fine alone, but honestly the 10 minute walk afterwards was pretty torturous.
  5. It doesn't hurt.  The procedure isn't particularly comfortable, but there is no pain.  And it is so quick.  Like amazingly, worryingly quick.  Brilliant.
  6. You might want to consider carefully when you schedule getting it done.  I felt really drained for about a week afterwards, my eyes were very light-sensitive and focussing on a computer screen was really difficult.  Also my eye has a rather un-photogenic red mark on it which still hasn't completely faded 3 weeks later.
  7. You might not feel quite like yourself for a while afterwards.  By about 3 pm each day, I was more than ready to lie in a quiet dark room for half an hour.  I think I found it harder to adjust because I only had one eye done, my brain had to un-learn 23 years of right eye dominance.  Considering this took one week, this is pretty amazing.  But for the first week, it was hard.  The world was so bright and fast I literally could not keep up with it.  It's very difficult to describe but I felt like I had to re-learn how to see.
  8. Despite the side effects, these cons do not outweigh the pros in any way.  They are not reasons not to have it done, just reasons to consider carefully the timing of when you do it.
  9. It is nowhere near as big a deal as people make it out to be.  Too expensive Cheaper than decades of glasses and opticians appointments.  Won't work?  The statistics say otherwise.  Not safe?  Yes, there are risks.  Read about them, understand them, but realise that risk is inherent in life and some risks are worth taking. 
  10. It works.  Not only does it work, it works immediately.  Immediately.  Just wow.
So yes, I am officially in the laser eye surgery club.  Best choice in a long time!

Also...I have 2 x £500 off vouchers for Optimax treatments, if you are interested hit me up with your contact details at (UK only please)

How to make Canal Art

Step One - find a suitable canal-like item! My mum was given a stupid watering can flower arrangement thingy, and she asked me to decorate the can for her once the flowers had died.

Step Two - use squared paper to find out the area you have to play with, and prepare a rough design.  There are some good canal art websites around and trusty Google images to point you in the right style directions.  I just pulled some elements I liked from various pieces in order to create my design.

Step Three - base coat.  Start with the items which you want to have at the back overlapped by other the leaves.  Top tip - use acrylic paint and not oil paint - I used oils and it didnt dry on the metal at all so I had to take it all off and start again.  Nail remover gets paint off the metal nicely though so is also great for tidying up at the end!

Step Four - middle coat.  Bases for roses, swirly bits etc.  I used this awesome helping tip from good old Google...

Step Five - top coat.  Top layer of the roses and leaves as shown above...and some nice dainty decorative spots.

And ta dah!

Happy Christmas Mum :)

Things I used to be ok with

Me in the distance at Castlerigg Stone Circle, Cumbria
I seem to be entering a time of change.  I don't know whether this is me subconsciously preparing myself to get ready to leave on my travels, or if new events have led me into a state of flux, but I do know that things that used to seem ok are suddenly not ok...

Like being alone.  I used to be able to be alone in a sea of couples, friendship groups, families and think to myself "Look at me so independent and capable of handling this situation by myself!".  

But that was last year.  When I sat in the waiting room at the laser eye surgery clinic before my treatment, I looked around at the other people in the room.  Everyone else was there with a family member.  

Every single person.  

People who were quietly whispering to them, reassuringly touching them, silently supporting them.  

And I didn't think "Look at me so independent...".  


All I could think was "Look at loved."

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